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UFC Phoenix salaries: Cain Velasquez earns $450,000 in unsuccessful UFC return

Cain Velasquez was the top earner at UFC Phoenix.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez led the disclosed payroll for UFC Phoenix, cashing a six-figure sum for his unsuccessful return against Francis Ngannou.

The Arizona Department of Gaming released the event’s finalized salary information on Thursday to MMA Fighting.

Velasquez suffered a 26-second TKO loss to Ngannou in the night’s main event, which marked his return to action following a 30-month layoff. Velasquez earned a flat $450,000 purse in the losing effort, while Ngannou cashed $220,000 for his victory.

UFC Phoenix took place Feb. 17 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The night’s main card aired live on ESPN.

Aside from the two main event fighters, only two other UFC Phoenix athletes cleared the six-figure mark in earnings: Aljamain Sterling ($140,000) and Nik Lentz ($106,000).

Notably, jiu-jitsu wizard Kron Gracie earned a $52,000 purse for his successful UFC debut against Alex Caceres.

In addition to their commission-reported salaries, Gracie, Vicente Luque, Bryan Barberena, and Luke Sanders also took home $50,000 fight night bonuses for their performances.

A complete list of the UFC Phoenix salaries can be seen below. As always, these figures do not represent a fighter’s total earnings, as certain sponsorship incomes and discretionary bonuses are not publicly disclosed.

Main Card (ESPN)
Francis Ngannou ($110,000 + $110,000 = $220,000) def. Cain Velasquez ($450,000)
Paul Felder ($46,000 + $46,000 = $92,000) def. James Vick ($65,000)
Cynthia Calvillo ($44,000 + $44,000 = $88,000) def. Cortney Casey ($50,000)
Kron Gracie ($27,000 + $25,000 = $52,000) def. Alex Caceres ($55,000)
Vicente Luque ($41,000 + $41,000 = $82,000) def. Bryan Barberena ($35,000)
Andre Fili ($37,000 + $37,000 = $74,000) def. Myles Jury ($36,000)

Preliminary Card (ESPN)
Aljamain Sterling ($70,000 + $70,000 = $140,000) def. Jimmie Rivera ($68,000)
Manny Bermudez ($14,000 + $14,000 = $28,000) def. Benito Lopez ($12,000)
Andrea Lee ($14,000 + $14,000 = $28,000) def. Ashlee Evans-Smith ($30,000)
Nik Lentz ($53,000 + $53,000 = $106,000) def. Scott Holtzman ($33,000)

Preliminary Card (ESPN+)
Luke Sanders ($19,000 + $19,000 = $38,000) def. Renan Barao ($53,000)
Emily Whitmire ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Aleksandra Albu ($12,000)

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